Nigerians scale early hurdles, meet tougher opponents today
Nigerian players, most of who sponsored themselves to the on-going 2015 ITTF World Championships in China, won all their opening singles games at the table tennis equivalent of the World Cup.
In the team, led by the President, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi, are Segun Toriola, Kazeem Makanjuola and Olufunke Oshonaike, who have shown that the country is a force to reckon with at the tournament, which has over 100 countries competing in five events.
Makanjuola opened the victory door for others to follow by dismissing Maldives’ Moosa Ahmed 11-2, 11-9, 15-13, 11-8 in the first group match, before Toriola sent Algeria’s Aissa Belkadi packing with 11-7, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7.
In the women’s singles, Oshonaike proved that experience is still relevant by beating Costa Rica’s Cynthia Martinez 4-0 and pummeling Mexico’s Madrid Mercedes with the same margin to put herself in a position to make it to the main draw.
She will meet Tunisia’s Saidani Safa for the only slot from the group to progress to the main draw.
Makanjuola will face Argentina’s Tabachnik Pablo today, just as Toriola will battle Qatar’s Abdulhussein Mohammed for the sole spot in the group.
Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri, who is the second seeded African player in the main draw, will begin his campaign tomorrow against a
qualifier from the group.